tv Duncan White Cold Warriors CSPAN October 11, 2019 1:15am-2:00am EDT
now more than never we need a book like this to remind us of the importance we are so pleased to have them here with us tonight please join me in welcoming our speakers. [applause] >> we have five different kinds of microphones. [laughter] congratulations for can we have this on the day of your publication. >> it's exciting i had 20 interviewser this morning already. [laughter] >> so early in the book you call it a group biography that
tell us what is the book so the idea of the book was to tell a comprehensive history of the cold war the literary cold war through the collapse of communism and the first drop ahead of the idea was to do it thematically with issues like censorship and repression and these ideas but then i thought it might work better as a group biography that could focus on a handful of writers weaving through the story to focus in on their life.
>> and one of the people that you open with is orwell. and that on the civil war which i am already excited it is super thrilling. like having a double agent and it is fascinating that orwell known for his journalism and you have been a journalist so then here's the moment when they figure out they can do more with fiction so did you have a moment with fiction writers? i don't know so what are your feelings on what you can do?
disciplined in the way he tried to tell a story in complex detail and nobody read it. and then to say how do i get this across and this is the parable of the child's fairy tale. so that's how he goes back and thinks about as a child's fairy tale. >> so when i was growing up so people of our generation and
and now all of a sudden the way the book is written and then you get to that chapter we are in this logicad of espionage. so that was a trick to write it like that in the style of the novel so why quick. >> it is exciting. in my own academic work wanted people to get excited about literature in ways i did when i was reading it and the temptation to distance yourself from it. i thought i would try to adopt this style that they were
experts so that narrative they just weren't trying to make it fun but is one of the more sweeping accounts of the cultural cold war so the agency of writers is removed they become pockets or chess pieces and with those sinister forces and that's an easy thing to think that that was so much more complicated and messy than this account of the cold war so that was to tell
it from that perspective and that dynamic in that position to be caught in those forces. >> so there is a narrative driven book but you do make the cases and one is very persuasive that you are accustomed to thinking about the way corporate politics shaped culture but we think the way of these workers of the cold war. but it's still more than most. >> yes.
so he is there partly because to connect some of these writers to the cold war in fascinating ways and to use that as a fictional model and then to have the same interest of espionage he loved nothing more and then they were just making stuff up. some of them were just getting beer money and so this idea is
the spy event or - - inventor. >> your chapter is amazing because we are not unfamiliar with this information campaign on a massive scale but nothing seems less plausible because of what happened in the background. that you were established very early with the question of complicity to figure out how much the writers are involved so from the introduction you declared that because of course now we know that these
so what does that say about the vietnamese and i felt so many because they would get a pass but they did incredible work on the manuscript and telling truth to power in many ways but allowing them to escape and then to become complicit because this was snatched up like cia funded operations. so to them this was a deal and
that the tragedy at the end of the cold case they were accusing them of some crazy stuff that you have been published by these magazines which is the cold war propaganda. and then to be complicit with the west. >> so what are you doing with culture in that chapter quick. >> this was in the sixties and the book was the unbelievable best seller and transformed into a movie.
she moved to paris and married a state department official and was fiercely opposed to the vietnam war. with a left-wing isolationist and to say it was a disaster. and there were some magnificent cases from saigon. she was a tough cookie and with that official rhetoric and with that euphemism and with those us policies that then she goes back again and
then to look at the american interest with her own instincts with her own propaganda and with the north vietnamese and at one point she accepted and was told that in this moment with the american pows and she wrote about them because she wanted to make a point how these american pilots were dumb and uneducatede and chewed up
and with this bipartisan conflict it is impossible to escape in many ways with those economic pressures and the market and went for the conference with the congress for cultural freedom but that was the cia funded operation. and then to be caught up of the cold war and then jim crow america but what you will see it is divided as racist white
of how these guys were in the gravity it is just j astonishin. and so many of these other figures in history to see in that human element. >> what are your ideas you might right next quick. >>ck i have an idea for a book but i am looking at creating a panic in the united kingdom and the germans and the german
so to see that they are not available and it was crazy and over a couple of years these masterpieces become available you go to a bookshop and now it said in the available. so it would be hard to imagine what it would be like especially to be an older citizen and have all of this space over a few months at the same time of the archives and
previously there is only other translation translations. >> a lot of energy went into the translation the translation of animal farm into polish so they produced it with paper stock a different translation but then they flew them over and then there were 20 copies. [laughter] but there were many ways to be
the best literary assessmente like doctor zhivago is he good? [laughter] so it really is that accomplished assessment so that facility withac english they gave access to western tax one - - text can bring you under suspicion. >> that's a great question. >> this is a difficult question so is this the book that hemingway wrote quick. >> i don't know to be honest i
literature beyond its calming utility with its propaganda how do you measure the polish farme farmer? [laughter] but it is like foreseeing the mechanism like an arms race in one sense or another it is fascinating so you see thatt definitive shift happening like the archipelago and the momenthe when you see attitudes andou european communist change